The day before the annual Pulse event is usually spent reviewing notes from the previous year and preparing a plan to absorb the deluge of data that IBM, its partners and customers would shower on the attendees. This year, I had a different experience. For the past few years, IBM has invited a selection of customers and partners to participate in a shortened (3-hour) version of an all day simulation/role-playing ISM Workshop. The session is meant to help enterprise customers to experience the situations that IBM’s Integrated Service Management capabilities can address and demonstrate the very real payback that customers can expect. The situation uses a transport firm and the IT shop providing outsourced IT services for critical operations to make the point that without automation, structured processes and the proper focus – the best teamwork in the world struggles to succeed. The workshop is structured to monitor and report the actual and potential revenue and profits of both firms. The object was to operate to reach the potential maximum. The three hours went by way too fast. We didn’t reach the maximum but both companies were profitable at the end of our session. We’ll publish a longer description of the workshop, lessons learned and how it all comes together in a longer piece. I’ve participated in workshops focusing on building a plan to bring together a network of community colleges to structuring enterprise client consulting sessions. The group consisted of experienced IT staff and business managers. As was to be expected in the roomful of attendees, there were a number of skeptics. However, it didn’t take long before that changed. In my opinion, this was, by far, the most fun and engaging workshop session I’ve attended in a long time. This opinion was confirmed with other attendees after the session and in casual encounters over the next few days at Pulse 2011. The lessons learned during the workshop weren’t just about the value of and benefits derived from IBM’s products and services. Those payoffs made themselves manifest very effectively and visibly during the interaction. For lessons learned, it wasn’t so much the NEWNESS of the insights but the realization that knowing the right thing to do isn’t always translated into doing it in the heat of the moment. One attendee mentioned they were struck by the unexpected lessons learned. For example, he now understood the importance of including close coordination with business managers when planning for infrastructure and process changes. Also, mentioned was the importance of establishing and maintaining clear lines of communication at all times but especially when operating under pressure. As I said, this was an abbreviated session of 3 hours. The real workshops last longer and, I would expect, the pressures and experience are more intense. I wasn’t ready to quit at the end of the three hours. I was really involved and want to go for more; a feeling shared by others. If you get a chance, take this workshop, but watch out, the scorekeeper has lots of surprises for you.